Build with Bags Grant


The primary goal of Build with Bags™ (BWB) is to tackle an environmental concern that has been receiving a great deal of attention – the use of plastic (and to some degree) shopping bags. To address this issue, the Build with Bags Program has defined four primary goals:

  1. Doubling the amount of plastic bags recycled over the next 24 months; 
  2. Reducing the use of plastic bags (with an additional benefit of reducing the use of paper bags); 
  3. Increasing the use of reusable bags; and 
  4. Encouraging the purchase of recycled plastic furniture and equipment through this grant program to aid parks and schools.

This grant program was developed to support the BWB Program’s primary goal of increasing plastic bag recycling, which we believe is at the core of addressing the environmental issues surrounding plastic bag use. This grant program was initiated to support “closing the plastic bag loop” by demonstrating how recycled plastic bags can be re-used in the manufacturing of outdoor furniture and equipment. Although there are a number of firms that provide recycled plastic content, furniture and equipment (see listing at, the BWB Program encourages grant recipients to use Iowa’s own Plastic Recycling of Iowa Falls. Please note that to be eligible for the grant program, the recycled content plastic furniture and equipment to be purchased must be used at a park or school. 


The grant program is available to any governmental entity or any organization (i.e. service clubs, non-profit organizations) within Iowa that purchase the items for a park or school. The items must be made of recycled high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic (the base material for making plastic shopping bags). Those receiving grant awards must acquire the items and then show proof of purchase and payment before receiving reimbursement of the award.


A maximum grant of $2,000 is available. Each entity applying for a grant is limited to one application or project per year. 


March 30, 2017

Grant awards will be announced on April 22, 2017 (Earth Day).


Application Submission

Grant applications should be prepared in letter form and sent to:

Iowa Grocery Industry Association Attn: Build with Bags Coordinator 2540 106th Street, Suite 102 Des Moines, Iowa 50322

Questions concerning the application process should be directed to IGIA’s Build with Bags Coordinator at 515-270-2628 or e-mail

Selection Requirements

Each application must include the applicant organization’s contact information (address, phone number and e-mail address) along with a designated contact name with contact information. All applications containing the required information will be evaluated by the Build with Bags Selection Committee according to the following selection criteria.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Statement of need (Maximum of 25 points): A clear statement of need identifying the importance and use of the furniture and/or playground equipment, along with financial need, is required. Please note that furniture or equipment subject to the grant award must be used in conjunction with a park or school. Maximum points will be awarded to those organizations with in kind contributions or contributing funds. 
  • Public Awareness (Maximum of 35 Points): Provide a brief summary of the marketing or public relations plan for maximizing public awareness of the project (newspaper, radio, TV coverage, speaking engagements, etc.). The greater the perceived impact, the greater the number of points awarded. Copies of the BWB and sponsor logos will be provided to those receiving grants. Proof of performance will be required before grant payment is issued. 
  • Verifiable Recycled Plastic Content (Maximum of 10 Points): Grant requests must include information on the recycled plastic content of the proposed furniture or equipment purchase, including a statement that at least some of the plastic content includes high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic. The higher the content of recycled plastic the greater the number of points awarded. 
  • Plastic Bag Recycling (Maximum of 20 Points): Please include a statement indicating how the project will help to increase plastic bag recycling or decrease usage. The stronger the case for the project influencing reductions in use and increased recycling, the higher the points. 
  • Endorsement Letter (Maximum of 10 Points): An endorsement letter from an Iowa Grocery Industry Association (IGIA) member in support of your request is required. The stronger the letter of support, the greater the points. 


  • Grant applications will be reviewed by the Build with Bags selection committee to determine eligibility and application score based on the selection criteria. Incomplete or insufficient applications will be returned along with an explanation concerning the nature of any missing or insufficient information. 
  • The composite rating will be used to allocate grants from available funds. The selection committee will make a determination of award grant recipients and reserves the right to adjust the amount of a grant request based on available funds. 
  • The remaining grant requests will be reviewed and weighted by the selection committee with each member of the committee independently evaluating the grants. The group will then meet collectively and share results with a final tabulation made from the composite ratings. 
  • Geographic distribution will also be a consideration in determining award grant recipients.


Grant funds will be provided to award recipients subsequent to furniture/equipment purchases. In order to receive grant award funds, award recipients must submit proof of purchase documentation to include:

  1. A paid invoice; 
  2. A canceled check or similar verification of payment; and 
  3. Copies of media coverage and/or photos of the project, events and/or furniture or equipment.

Proof of performance will be required before grant payment is issued.

Payment will be made within two weeks of submission of all appropriate information. Grant recipients are encouraged to identify “media event” times in advance if possible. Those events may provide an opportunity for the recipient, IGIA members, sponsoring organizations, BWB sponsors and program to gain recognition.


Iowa Grocery Industry Association 

Keep Iowa Beautiful

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Metro Waste Authority

The Des Moines Register

Plastic Recycling of Iowa Falls

Recent 2015 Grants Awarded:

Organization City  Grant Amount  Project
Akron Park & Recreation Board Akron  $          2,000.00 8 Malibu benches
Briar Cliff University Sioux City  $          2,000.00 4 Hexagon tables
City of Bridgewater Bridgewater  $          1,560.35 2 benches and 2 tables (1 ADA)
Central College Pella  $          1,904.00 1 ADA table, umbrella base, and 2 benches
City of Gilmore City Gilmore City  $          1,900.00 5 benches and 1 table
Granger Community Center Granger  $          1,972.00 2 tables, 3 trash receptacles
Iowa Lakes Community College Estherville  $          1,800.00 1 table and 3 benches
Jackson County Conservation Maquoketa  $             500.00 1 table and 1 umbrella
Jasper County Conservation Board Newton  $          2,000.00 Playground
City of Laurens Laurens  $          2,000.00 3 tables (1 ADA), 1 trash receptacle
Maple Grove Elementary School Waukee  $          2,000.00 2 benches and 1 table
City of McGregor McGregor  $          2,000.00 9 tables (2 ADA)
Palmer Hometown Pride Comm Palmer  $          1,699.00 2 tables, 2 trash receptables/liners/dome lids
Pocahontas Hometown Pride Comm Pocahontas  $          1,359.50 1 table, 2 benches, 1 trash receptacle
City of Storm Lake Storm Lake  $          2,000.00 8 trash receptables
City of Varina Varina  $          1,770.00 2 benches and 6 curved benches
Winneshiek County Conservation Ft. Atkinson  $          2,000.00 6 benches
Woodbine Community School Woodbine  $          2,000.00 Recycled plastic lumber

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